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Office 2003SP3: Old file formats, now unavailable!

time961 (618278) writes | more than 6 years ago

Microsoft 3

time961 writes "In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft has disabled support for many older file formats, so if you have old Word, Excel, 1-2-3, Quattro, or Corel Draw documents, watch out! They did this because the old formats are "less secure", which actually makes some sense, but only if you got the files from some untrustworthy source.

Naturally, they did this by default, and then documented a mind-bogglingly complex workaround (KB 938810) rather than providing a user interface for adjusting it, or even a set of awkward "Do you really want to do this?" dialog boxes to click through. And, of course, because these are, after all, old file formats, many users will encounter the problem only months or years after the software change, while groping around in dusty and now-inaccessible archives.

One of the better aspects of Office is its extensive compatibility mechanisms for old file formats. At least the support isn't completely gone—it's just really hard to use. Security is important, but there are better ways to fulfill this goal.

This was also covered by the Windows Secrets newsletter, although I can't find a story URL for it."

3 comments

"a mind-bogglingly complex workaround"? (1)

WalterGR (106787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21851768)

...documented a mind-bogglingly complex workaround (KB 938810) rather than providing a user interface for adjusting it.

Are you serious? It's just setting registry keys. The page even provides a tool to do it automatically.

Re:"a mind-bogglingly complex workaround"? (1)

barc0001 (173002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21851796)

Great. Can your grandmother do it without calling you? If not, that's "mindbogglingly complex" for the average office worker.

Re:"a mind-bogglingly complex workaround"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21858210)

If she's a ex-Quattro user, she's probably forgotten more than you can remember.
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